Is Netflix Shoving Us to Stream? Apparently not

UPDATE: Maybe it is just a run of odd luck. It does seem odd that Smallville Season 4 Disc 4 suddenly becomes unavailable, that Stargate Season 4 Disc 1 is suddenly hard to get, and that at least one or two other old, presumably not-much-in-demand others won’t ship…but they are, finally, shipping us a TV DVD. I’m still a little suspicious (given Netflix’ past history of manipulating queues), but…

Second update: Netflix has gone out of their way to provide Stargate SG-1 Season 4 Disc 1. We’re happy.


Original post:

Maybe it’s just a run of odd luck on our part, but I wonder…

We have a disc-only subscription to Netflix, because our DSL–while fast enough for all other purposes–isn’t fast enough to deliver a streaming Netflix picture that we consider watchable on our HDTV.

We have a three-disc subscription because we watch old TV series on disc. Otherwise, a single-disc subscription would be jes’ fine: we watch one movie a week.

Until last week, Netflix was working the way I’d expect: you send back a disc, you get the next disc in your queue…almost always. (We don’t pop the latest movie releases up to the top of our queue.)

And then…

We sent back a TV disc, with another TV disc at the top of our queue (I pop the next one up when one’s finished). We didn’t get the next disc; instead, we got another movie.

We sent back the movie, with two TV discs at the top of our queue. We got another movie…and both TV discs suddenly said “Very long wait.”

We moved those discs down the queue and another, entirely different, TV disc to the top of the queue. And completed the only TV disc we had on hand, and sent it back.

And got another movie.

I’ve now put three TV discs, none of them showing a wait, on top of our queue. Two discs are on the way back to Netflix.

If we get more movies, frankly, I’m gonna get suspicious. Suspicious that Netflix is deliberately ignoring TV discs in an effort to force us to use streaming for TV and pay the extra $8. (Which would require at least an extra $30-$50/month to get adequate bandwidth.)

Which would also backfire, since we’d drop back to a single-movie (Blu-ray) subscription, and the differential is a heck of a lot more than $8.

I trust it’s just some odd sequence of accidents. But the fact that Netflix has, over the years, always handled the queue properly (and we’re very early subscribers), does make me, well, a little suspicious.

Is this happening to anybody else? Or are we just oddballs? (OK, maybe the fact that we don’t pay a fortune to have Really Broad Broadband and actually watch TV series on discs makes us oddballs…)

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